Denis Wittman: how to become a millionaire in the App Store?

Denis Wittman from the company “Erd” not so long ago on “Habra” published a fascinating and very informative post “How to become a millionaire in the App Store or a few formulas about promotion and sales“. We couldn’t pass it by and published it at home. 

Success scheme

John, we’ve lost two sheets of math calculations! What to do? As usual, Bill… write: “it obviously follows from here…”Where’s the money, Billy?


This is elementary – it is necessary that I be several million more than the cost of application development and marketing costs.

I – it turns out no less elementary, this is D (the number of jumps) * H (monetization coefficient). Let’s talk about H separately, but for now we are concerned about D. D turns out to be much more complicated.

D = (A1+A2+A3+A4)*B*C*H*J + (E*E1) + (F*F1)

  • (A1+A2+A3+A4)*B*C*H*J – organic traffic
  • (E*E1) – PR and advertising
  • (F*F1) – purchase of installations

Organic traffic is the money that the application earns itself, without special marketing activity. Let’s analyze this formula. B, C and H are multipliers, besides they are less than one. All they can do is “not splash” the audience. J due to two—way communication is a potential philosopher’s stone, but more about it later. 

That leaves A – the base audience we can get. These are not our customers yet, not even our visitors – these are just people who have seen our sign. How can we influence A by increasing the number of views of our signage? Obviously – by increasing D and I! Apple, without further ado, used a standard feedback loop.

A1 and A2 are the most manageable objects. If you did not get into the top at all, then you only have A4 – and this is frankly not enough. Even for specially created “fake” applications in the spirit of Angry Zombies vs Alien Doodle Plants, we will be talking about several hundred views per day. 

Yes, of course, we do not forget to make a high-quality application and hope that Apple’s censors will notice it and we will get into A3. 

Total Free has the highest attendance. Then — Total Paid. After — Top Categories. It is important that the number of views drops proportionally depending on the location. The exact statistics of “views” and traffic sources are a secret of Apple behind seven seals, but, based on common sense, several boundaries are visible:

  • Top 1 – people are so arranged that they unconsciously prefer the best. Therefore, the first application always gets a download bonus in relation to all the others.
  • Top 2-4 (6 iPads) – getting here means that every user who visits the AppStore will see our application. The traffic is very low-quality, but there is a lot of it.
  • Top 4-8 (6-12 Ipad) – to see this page, the user must “flip through” the applications in the selected category. This immediately cuts off a huge part of users, but it makes traffic cleaner, since only those who are at least thinking about buying something are flipping through.
  • Top 8-10 – Top 10 are visible on the iTunes page. And although the share of those who download from the program and not from the device is not great, it is still a serious milestone.
  • Top 10-100 – with each subsequent page, the number of users who have seen our application drops. Somewhere after the 20th place, the fall slows down, and the number of people who viewed the page does not decrease so significantly.
  • Top 100-200 – below 100 places, to see the application you already need to open the “watch all” link on the Iphone. Which once again reduces the audience (it’s one thing to scroll, another to tap on the link). After the 200th place, we fly out of the iTunes top
  • Top 200-300 – that’s it, we flew out of the iPhone tops and became invisible

Each of the pages has its own number of downloads and purchases that need to be made in order to pass a certain milestone. 

Practical tips that can be made from the above:

Harmful tips #1

1. It makes no sense to fight for the upper boundary of the “frontier” — it is much cheaper to gain a foothold on the lower part. For example, the 10th place in the Top Free in the entertainment category in the Russian App Store requires about 2000 downloads per day. It will also give us a place in the Top 100 overall. To rise to the 5th place will require about 5,000 downloads, while the number of views will increase slightly.

2. Top Grossing works well only within the top 10, since not so many people want to specifically climb to see which application has earned more.

3. Search queries – work simply, give a small but constant increase. Keywords are checked in Google or Yandex for the number of requests and checked in the App Store for the number of issues. Since the user sees one application per page in a search query, it is not very happy to be one of 100.

4. Top 4 categories will give more views than the top 50 overall rating. And in some categories, the competition is not so high.

5. Traffic quality rating (and the active user base and monetization of the application depend on it):

  • Search traffic is of the highest quality
  • In Paid applications, the quality is higher than in Free
  • In the category of higher quality than in Total
  • It is better in the lower places of the rating than in the high ones.
  • If you believe App Annie, to enter the top 100 free apps in the USA for iPhone, you need 13 thousand daily downloads, and 54 thousand downloads to get into the top ten.

Launching into space

While we are not in the tops, A1 and A2 do not work. Accordingly, the first task that is set when the application is released is to throw it into the TOP. And the higher we throw it, the bigger the audience will see it. Given that the App Store takes into account the statistics of downloads for 3 days, this is exactly the time we have for everything about everything.

So, the first priority is to ensure getting into the TOP.

When we first launched the application, the formula turns out to be much simpler:

D = (E*E1) + (F*F1)

(E*E1) – PR and advertising

Let’s say you wrote an article, a review, a blog post, shouted on the wall on Facebook. Each of these messages will be seen by a certain number of people – this is E. And some of them will follow the link to download the application – that’s E1.

According to numerous reviews and my own experience, the most effective publication is on specialized sites writing about applications. For a high-quality review, E can reach 20% of the site’s audience. That is, if the site is visited by 100,000 unique visitors per day, the review printed on the main page will be viewed 20,000 times. 

An excellent E1 (conversion rate) for a free app is 20%. Thus, a super review on a popular site will give 4,000 races. For a paid application, E1 will be significantly lower (1% — 5% depending on the price and quality of the review).

(F*F1) – traffic purchase

If you do not take illegal methods (botnets, etc.), then the price for installing (CPI) a free application starts from 10 US cents. However, in reality, the usual price for the USA is from 1 to 2 dollars, depending on the quality of traffic and the methods used. 

To get 40,000 installations in the first three days (getting into the Total TOP 100 US and Top 10 US categories) – we will need 10 such reviews or 5 reviews and $ 20,000 for the purchase of installations. If you have connections, the application is beautifully made and it has a good idea – reviews will be written to you for a little money or for free. If all this is not there, then paid reviews will cost money comparable to the purchase of installations. 

Most publishers benefit from established connections, a name (helps to get high-quality reviews) and a low price of installations (since the audience of their own applications and mass purchase of installations are used).

An important point is that all that these 30-50 thousand dollars spent on PR, advertising and buying traffic give is a chance for the success of the application. They open the way to getting organic traffic, attract an A–audience who will see the sign of our application.

Harmful tips #2

1. The lowest CPI is advertising from your own apps. Immediately figure out how you will link your applications with each other to ensure high conversion.

2. The more interesting the idea, the more chances for a review.

3. All reviews, materials, etc. should be released within 3 days, which means it is necessary to negotiate strongly in advance

4. It is better to have several installation suppliers (Flurry, TapJoy, ChartBoost, Fiksu, etc.) – this will allow you to buy the required number of installations at a lower price

5. Ranking by the degree of effectiveness of materials:

  • Reviews
  • Sales
  • Contests
  • Devstory
  • News, press releases
  • Banner advertising
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